Teaching independence and incidental movement

I’m a little behind on blog posts and work in general, but there’s a reason. The school year began last week and we’re still adjusting to the new schedule. As much as I love the freedom of summer I adore schedules, timetables and routines. I would truly be lost without them.

This scholastic year is different for us because Evan has started middle school. In grade school in Italy children go from 8AM until 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. They eat a hot lunch at school. From 6th grade until they graduate from high school their schedule is 8AM – 1PM, Monday through Saturday.

A lot of people comment to me, “Oh, you’re so lucky that you work for yourself”. I actually planned it out early on since I knew I’d never be able to have a normal 9 to 7 (Italian hours) job and have children with the crazy scholastic schedule they implement in this country.

Just to make things a little more difficult we decided to enrol Evan in a middle school on the other side of town. Modena is small but it’s still taking a little effort for all of us. But after a week we’re already happy with our choice so… yay!

Smiles on the first day of school
Smiles on the first day of school

I’m self employed but I still have to work. My work flow, the creative flow, is everything to me. I need a good chunk of time to get things rolling and to be by myself to write, read and plan. I’m driving him to school in the morning but I have to teach him to get back home on public transportation so that I have a little more work time. It’s also a first step in him acquiring a little independence and for me to start releasing the mommy clutch.

Walking to school map

My plan was to take the bus with him several times and show him where to get on, where to change and the final bus stop. But in order to do that I had to get myself to his school.

The first day I decided to run there. It’s only 5k and it sounded like a quick workout. I had a few problems though. With school out at 1PM I had to leave the house by 12:15 to be there in time. It’s still Indian summer here and hot as hell. I almost passed out on that first run. I also had to stop and start for several traffic lights. I didn’t encounter many fellow walkers, but people in cars seemed to think we were invisible. Every other driver was on a cell phone and there was a lot of nose digging going around at stoplights. I know you wanted to know that.

pretending not to recognise me...
Pretending not to recognise me…

By day three Evan had the routine down. We decided that I’d meet him at the bus stop instead of in front of the school. He added that we could pretend we didn’t know each other. It lasted about thirty seconds when we both started to giggle.

Evan eating his lunch

The biggest change to my day is that he comes home for lunch. This had worried me as I have my solo routine for work, lunchtime and my workouts. I thought that I’d probably just point him to the kitchen and be on with my day. But it turns out those shared lunchtime moments are best part of my day. Life evolves and changes…

  1. Anne
    The old days sound good, but so do the new ones. I like the structure I get to my year with nine or ten week bursts interspersed with school holidays. Just got 'daily rituals' from the library. Hoping for some ideas!
  2. Julia Jones
    I have Daily Rituals on audio - love to listen to it for inspiration! (except for the 19th century writers that took speed to help them out...ha!)